It is Time to Act

Daniel J. Sinnott, for HealthLeaders Media , June 18, 2010

9. Get the Right Diagnosis: A high percentage of the healthcare dollar is spent on trying to identify the primary and secondary diagnosis of a patient's illness. Getting the right diagnosis earlier will not only improve the quality of care but also reduce the cost of providing that care.
Recommendation: There is an opportunity to improve the clinical and cost effectiveness of diagnosing illnesses by consulting with national and international experts. With the acceleration of information technology and new capabilities for interfaces, organizations both large and small can connect with "centers of excellence" for diagnosing specific diseases and illnesses.

10. The patient is the customer: Over the years the patient has lost some of the focus in healthcare, often competing with the needs of physicians, employees, health systems, etc. In every service industry the path to success is focusing on the customer–in healthcare the patient is the customer and the sole reason for providing services. Physicians, employees, health systems etc. are not our customers but our most important assets. There is a distinct difference between a customer and an asset and we in healthcare need to have strong assets in order to focus on the patient/customer.
Recommendation: Your organization must develop ways of becoming more patient-centric and establish ongoing means of tracking and using patient feedback in your planning. Suggest real-time patient satisfaction monitoring via daily patient/family satisfaction logs which can be done manually or electronically. It would be better to solve a patient issue or hear positive feedback before they are discharged.

11. Become more transparent: In order to navigate through all of the healthcare reform changes, organizations will need to become effective and transparent in all of their communications.
Recommendation: Become more proactive with your patients, employees, physicians, and your communities regarding your performance, strategic directions, and activities. Share information on clinical outcomes, financial results in order to become more transparent in preparing for and dealing with healthcare reform.

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